LiquidPiston Raises $1.1 Million of VC

Bloomfield, Conn. – LiquidPiston, a Bloomfield-based developer of rotary internal combustion engines based on a thermodynamic cycle, has raised $1.1 million more of venture capital, according toLiquidPistonLogo a new filing by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

LiquidPiston’s technology increases load efficiency to above 50%, reducing fuel consumption by as much as threefold over conventional engines, according to the company. In 2004, LiquidPiston won the MIT $50K business plan competition (now called the $100K) and received an SBIR award from the Army in 2007. LiquidPiston built its first firing engine prototype around three years ago. Investors in the company include Northwater Capital and Adams Capital Management.

View Filing | Visit LiquidPiston Site


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Datto acquires Backupify

Norwalk, Conn., – Datto, a preferred provider of cloud-based backup, disaster recovery and business continuity solutions announced it’s acquisition of Backupify a leading provider of cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery solutions for software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. The combined technologies will create the first complete protection platform for business data and solve problems that have hindered back up providers in the past. The terms of the transactions were not disclosed.


“At a time when data lives in and flows freely from on-premise servers and systems, virtualized environments and third-party clouds, data protection and recovery takes on a whole new meaning,” said Austin McChord, founder and CEO of Datto. “Backupify provides must-have solutions for companies entrusting their data to SaaS applications, and our team will help complete the vision of creating a Total Data Protection Platform that extends across a company’s entire digital ecosystem, as well as expand to new global markets, including Europe, Asia, and Latin America.”


Read the full press release here.

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Investments in Marijuana – “Sinful” or “Socially Responsible?”

In early January the venture capital community was rocked when a venture firm run by Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Facebook, invested millions in marijuana company Privateer investing-cannabisHoldings.

While it has become increasingly apparent that the financial health of the marijuana industry is strong, the majority of the public pension funds are still struggling with its ethical foundation. The question at hand is whether the “pot market” is considered a sin industry or if the marijuana movement can be tucked neatly under the healthcare umbrella thus making investment a social responsibility. 

Historically, big investors have shied away from sociably questionable deals and are quick to walk away from accounts that turn sour. For example, private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management has been attempting to sell the Freedom Group since the 2012 Newtown Elementary massacre. Freedom Group is the manufacturer of the Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle, the weapon used in the shooting. Big banks also air on the side of caution and players like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America continue to refuse accounts to marijuana companies.

The hesitation of big money has not deterred all in the investment community as Geoff Lewis, partner of Mr. Thiel, argues that the industry has been exceedingly misunderstood. He says that the investment in Privateer Holdings was first and foremost a business decision and while the jury is still out on the social implications of investing in marijuana, he believes that it is “certainly not socially irresponsible.”

In Connecticut, the Mohegan Tribe has become interested in the marijuana market in order to sustain its government in an era of increased casino competition. According to Morgan Fox, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for legalizing pot, tribal leaders have an opportunity to exploit what the federal government has failed to capitalize on. The growing and distribution of marijuana on tribal land could “bring people in from the entire region, (people) who may not want to travel as far as Colorado or the other states where marijuana is already legal.”

While it is uncertain to say whether big monies will jump into marijuana investment any time soon, it is important to realize that smaller investment deals are being made nationwide. In 2014 legal marijuana businesses raised $104 million in 59 deals. For the time being the marijuana industry will continue to feel the aches of ebbing and flowing investment interest.


Read more about Ethical Questions of Investing in Pot from the New York Times

Read more about Mohegans Review of Pot as an Economic Opportunity from the Hartford Courant


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Developer of Keytone Supplements Raises $2M

Bloomfield, CT - Cognate Nutritionals, a Bloomington-based developer of ketone supplements for brain health, has raised $2 million in a round of venture capital, the company disclosed in a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Cognate offers “medium-chain triglycerides” naturally found in coconut oil, to increase ketone production and help brain function. Typically, a decrease in the brain’s ability to utilize glucose often occurs due to aging as well as disease, according to the company.

“40+ years of peer-reviewed scientific research has proven that ketones are the brain’s only alternative fuel source. As people age or suffer from neurological decline, the brain becomes less able to utilize glucose, its usual source of fuel. Brain cells will then begin to decline and die. Typical diets generate low levels of ketones that are unable to adequately supply these energy deficient brain cells. However, when you raise the body’s ketone levels sufficiently, the brain will always fully utilize them, thus providing support to those same cells that were in decline.

The unique formulation of Fuel For Thought® provides medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), naturally found in coconut oil, to quickly increase ketone production and help to keep the brain supported in performing its many functions. Like a hybrid car that easily switches to a second source of good energy when the original runs out or is low, the more ketones you regularly have, the more consistent brain support you’ll enjoy.” – Cognate Nutritional’s Website

View the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commision


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Crossroads Venture Group Appoints Mary Anne Rooke as Executive Director

For Immediate Release

January 14, 2015 – Hartford CT – The Crossroads Venture Group (CVG) has appointed Mary Anne Rooke as its Executive Director to succeed former Executive Director Elizabeth “Liddy” Karter, who led CVG for four years.

“Crossroads Venture Group is incredibly pleased to announce Mary Anne as its new Executive Director. Mary Anne has been an active leader in Connecticut’s investment and entrepreneurial Mary Annecommunity through her prior leadership roles as Chairman, President and Managing Director of Angel Investor Forum, Executive Director of UConn’s Technology Incubation Program at the Storrs, Avery Point and Farmington campuses, and as Executive-in-Residence for Connecticut Innovations. This, along with her prior experience in Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial community and public policy advocacy work in California and Connecticut, positions Mary Anne to lead CVG as it embarks on its next chapter of growth,“ said Nat Brinn, President of CVG Board of Directors and Principal at Vital Venture Capital LLC.

Mary Anne is the founder of Rooke & Associates, a boutique management consulting firm. Previously, she held leadership positions in multiple industries ranging from start-up ventures to Fortune 500 companies in both publicly owned and privately held sectors and has served on boards and commissions in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Connecticut. Through her management consulting, angel investor, and startup activities, she has worked closely with the entrepreneurial communities on both the east and west coasts of the US. Mary Anne is a mentor and advisor with tech startups in Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI), UConn and also in the ASTIA and the Pipeline Fellowship networks for women-led startup ventures.

“Mary Anne’s unique experience at both ends of the investment process, as an angel investment leader and as an entrepreneur, has positioned her to lead CVG in bringing the investment ecosystem together to support CT’s emerging startup companies,“ said Elizabeth “Liddy” Karter, former CVG Executive Director and current Managing Director at Enhanced Capital Partners.

“It is an honor and privilege to be appointed the Executive Director of Crossroads Venture Group,” said Mary Anne Rooke. “My goal is to expand CVG’s core network of actively engaged resources in order to fuel more capital investment for our fast-growing entrepreneurial ecosystems in the Northeast region.”


About Crossroads Venture Group:

The Crossroads Venture Group is a professional organization that is committed to connecting leading investment professionals with high-growth emerging companies. CVG’s mission is to assist the development of high-growth enterprises through the promotion of capital formation in Connecticut.

Kaitlyn Mode
Marketing Manager – CVG
860.289.0878 x338


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January 2015 | Healthcare IT Recap

January’s event was full of transitions and excitement as Mary Anne Rooke, the new Executive Director of CVG, dove head first into the execution of a successful first meet-up. Unlike previous monthly events, the Healthcare IT meet-up featured a new program structured around a re-organized pitching segment called the Pitch Pit! for blog

The Pitch Pit:

Three successful growth companies were selected to present in front of a panel of highly experienced investors and live audience. Each company was given five minutes to pitch and then allotted five more minutes for Q&A with the audience and feedback from the investor panel. Investors also used a Connecticut-based web tool called Test My Pitch in order to give detailed remarks and advice to each of the presenting companies. Audience members filled out physical comment cards which were later distributed to the presenters. The following companies presented in the pit:

  • Bioarray Therapeutics – Presented by Marcia Fournier. Bioarray is tackling the problem associated with the large number of patients unresponsive to taxane chemotherapy. According to Bioarray roughly 75% of patients who take taxane, the first line of therapy, do not respond to the drug. Instead then, of sending patients through a cumbersome and exhausting trial and error of other drugs in line Bioarray aims to halt  therapy that will not work for these pitch 3pitch 1patients, before they even start. According to Bioarray, clinical studies can classify non-responders upfront, and therefore increase the rate of improvement by 68%. Bioarray is not quiet ready for commercialization but are expecting to launch within the next two years.
  • Diameter Health – Presented by Eric Rosow. Diameter Health is in the business of digitization and standardization of medical data with financial incentives. They aim to bring scalable, cost-effective medical apps to market that will transform healthcare through clinical intelligence. One platform with multiple solutions, integrated for those involved in the healthcare space.
  • Inbox Health – Presented by Black Walker. Inbox Health was inspired by the simple fact that “Nobody knows the price of healthcare services,” all stemming from mysterious pricing, inconsistent reimbursements, illusive affordability, complex benefit packages. The direct result of the confusion surrounding healthcare costs leaves patients scrounging for money and doctors unpaid. Inbox Health aims to revolutionize the transaction process associated with healthcare. With a mind to make collecting payment and distributing bills seamless for the physician and submitting payments easier for the patient, Inbox Health intends to be the next major app to drive the financial side of healthcare.

Immediately following the Pitch Pit keynote speaker Allen DeGraw, CEO and Founder of Post-n-Track, took to the podium to discuss the impacts of IT has on the healthcare industry. As many panelpitch 2would guess, Allen noted that the healthcare industry is a great place to be right now, and according to him some of the major drivers in healthcare are cost optimization, competition, reform and consumerism. As far as trends go, big data, the cloud, and mobile applications are among some of the top leading trends in the industry – all tech related. That being said, Allen touched upon some of the greatest areas for market growth and investment, some of them being business intelligence and anayltics, systems management, database, and business applications. Of course, even as IT and healthcare become closely linked and changes in the industry become more apparent and accepted, some of the biggest unsolved problems still include cost and quality of systems.

Thank you again to Mary Anne Rooke for helping us plan and execute a successful Second Thursday Presentation!



Congratulations to Gerald Michaud, President of Horizon Technology Finance, winner of this month’s “Ticket for Two” Innovation Summit giveaway! You can win tickets at the next CVG meet-up event by dropping your business card in the raffle box!

Click here to view more photos from the event!

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Liddy Karter Steps Down – Her Thoughts on the Appointment of Mary Anne Rooke

“As former executive director I greatly enjoyed helping the organization achieve the many goals that were established, when I joined, in Jan 2011. Some of these goals included Liddyincreasing the amount of regular activity in venture financing, increasing the number of investors directly involved in CVG, and most importantly increasing the amount of venture funding flowing to companies in our region. Crossroads Venture Group is now offering regular monthly events to highlight great local companies, professional services companies and investor groups. Of the six leadership positions at CVG five are directly held by investors. This is a testament to the value placed on CVG by investors as a place to find investments and to network with a community of likeminded investors and deal professionals. The most objective measure of our success is Connecticut’s ranking of 9th in venture dollars and deals invested per capita in the nation. This is crucial considering venture capital investments contribute directly to job growth and economic vitality.”

“Now is the perfect time to pass the baton to Mary Anne Rooke as new executive director of Crossroads Venture Group. Mary Anne has tremendous experience in venture investing both as an entrepreneurial CFO, an angel investor, and expert in venture funding. She has deep local contacts from her work as president of Angel Investor Forum, Manager of the TIP Program at UConn, and from her involvement with CT Innovations. As I continue to build our investment portfolio at Enhanced Capital CT, it is very important to me that CVG continues to grow. I am excited to see local companies continue to grow and by the role the CVG is playing to bring the investment ecosystem closer together.”

- Liddy Karter, Former Executive Director of Crossroads Venture Group

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Liddy Karter’s Final Address

Amidst a national rebound of venture capital activity, and an unprecedented recognition of the value of innovation and entrepreneurship, it’s easy to overlook the even greater success of Liddyour local venture market. Over the past four years Connecticut’s ranking in venture capital dollars, invested per capita, has gone from 21 to 9 reflecting about $150 million of additional venture capital dollars invested per year. This change results from strategic coordination among all the stakeholders in Connecticut’s innovation economy including the entrepreneurs who build the companies, the professionals who make the deals work, the investors who manage the capital, the universities that stimulate the research, and the administration that provides the policies to support the ecosystem.

Connecticut’s innovative companies are varied as any good portfolio should be but also weighted toward the highest potential sectors including alternative energy, life sciences, business services and advanced manufacturing. With continued focus on supporting our innovative, entrepreneurial sector Connecticut can solidify its position as the most efficient place to grow a venture backed company.

It has been an honor for me to serve as Executive Director of CVG during these past four successful years. As I step back into my role as an investor I look forward to participating in the next stage of exceptional growth and collaboration that we are so well positioned to lead. Thank you all for your support and investments.”


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2014 Holiday Party and Annual Meeting Recap

Awards Presented at 2014 Annual Party
Peter Longo Honored with 2014 Founders Award 


Crossroads Venture Group, in partnership with the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC), presented various awards at its annual Holiday Party which took place December 11 at the University of Bridgeport.

Crossroads Venture Group presented its annual Founders Award to Peter Longo of Connecticut Innovations. Longo is a senior managing director of investments at Connecticut Innovations, Inc. (CI) who has spent nearly 20 years in numerous roles at CI, including as President. In his current position, Longo is currently responsible for evaluating investment opportunities, structuring investments and monitoring portfolio companies at CI.  During the Annual Meeting, CVG elected new officers for their Board of Directors.

In addition to the CVG Award, the Innovation Excellence Award went to CTC member company APS Technology, Inc. APS joins what is now a long list of previous year winners that have included ATMI, Inc of Danbury, Pitney Bowes of Stamford, FuelCell Energy of Danbury, Open Solutions Inc (now Fiserv, Inc.) of Glastonbury, Sonalysts, Inc of Waterford, United Technologies Corporation, ESPN of Bristol, Tangoe, Inc of Orange, Rogers Corporation of Rogers and 2013 winner Alexion Pharmaceuticals of Cheshire.

The Innovation Excellence Award, now in its eleventh year, is given to a Connecticut Technology Council member company that has displayed technology leadership in its industry vertical, increased its market share, expanded its workforce and has been recognized for innovation by its peer or trade groups and industry analysts.


APS Technology, Inc. was founded in 1993 by its current president, William Turner, to provide contract engineering services to the oilfield drilling industry. APS Technology has since grown into a leading provider of MWD/LWD, drilling & optimization (rotary steerable and drilling dynamics), and vibration management products for oil and gas drilling. APS has deep engineering expertise in the design, development and manufacture of oilfield electromechanical, instrumentation, sensor and software products, shock and vibration isolation designs, stress analysis for static and rotating conditions, and mechanical and electronics analysis for harsh environments. APS’s customers include all of the major integrated multinational oilfield service companies, independent directional drilling companies, MWD service companies and oilfield companies engaged in non-drilling related services.

Receiving the 2014 Volunteer of the Year Award was, John Schuyler, a partner at Marcum LLP, a prominent Connecticut public accounting and advisory services firm. Schuyler played a role in helping CTC conceptualize and launch the Tech Top 40 program begun in 2009. Schuyler John is also well known for his many trade mission visits to China’s Shandong province, Connecticut’s sister state for some 25 years now.

CTC’s third award was given to Liddy Karter who has been the Crossroads Venture Group’s (CVG) part-time Executive Director for the last four years.‎ While heading CVG, Karter has overseen several programmatic changes. Her mission was to deliver better events and content and more meaningful networking for the start-ups, investors and service providers who attend and support CVG events. Karter will now devote herself more fully now to her role as Managing Director at Enhanced Capital Partners, a national asset management firm providing investment capital to small businesses that are underserved by traditional sources of financing.


Check out Event Photos

Event photos

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Guidance in Exchange for Equity Stake

“Accelerated Ventures Inc. — Acc-Ven, for short — offers financial guidance and legal services to startups in exchange for equity stakes. Joel Hartstone, president of Stonegate Capital Co., and Cohn Birnbaum Managing Partner Michael Mulpete envision their venture as a model for not only investing in fledgling companies with promising technology but also as a means of cultivating new and lasting professional-client relationships.”

“We think this has a multifaceted application in terms of where law firms are going and how business is done in today’s economy and the economy of the future,” said Hartstone.

Acc-Ven’s business accelerator model differs from a startup incubator, Hartstone said. While both exist to mentor startups in navigating the financing, regulatory and other nuances of building a business, an incubator is an actual brick-and-mortar site, with office space, furniture, equipment, etc. Acc-Ven isn’t offering that.”

Read more about Acc-Ven on


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